Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Hours and Times

In April 1963, John Lennon and his manager Brian Epstein embarked on a four-day holiday in Barcelona. Naturally, the rumor mill started spinning as to the meaning of this trip without the other Beatles. Neither man disclosed what happened in Spain so what did occur during those days?

Christopher Münch's The Hours and Times explores what might have happened during that trip. (It opens with a disclaimer stating that what's about to unfold only speculation, not fact.) By the time the film was released 1992, neither man could protest what was depicted (Epstein had died in 1967, Lennon in 1980) but again, it's merely a fictionalization of real-life events.

The purpose of the trip isn't outright stated in The Hours and Times but Brian (David Angus) cites it to John (Ian Hart, who'd play Lennon two more times in the years to come) as nothing more than a vacation. Sure, the Beatles had become wildly successful but why not bring the other members? (It's worth bringing up that Epstein was gay, and Barcelona was decidedly laxer about homosexuality than Liverpool, so draw your own conclusions.)

But Münch makes The Hours and Times about desire more than anything else. Similar to how Brian longs for male companionship, it's implied that John yearns to be unattached. (Shortly before he left, his son Julian was born.) He isn't comfortable talking about his home life to Brian, which suggests he doesn't want to be reminded of what waits for him back in England. But is there more to what John wants?

The Hours and Times is far more than a "what if?" situation of real-life events; it's a quiet film about how one's wants can be almost deafening to them. How can one  -- whose desires are frowned upon, no less -- find the happiness they ache for? Some achieve their quest while others aimlessly search for it their whole lives. And in the case of John and most definitely Brian, it may be more of the latter.

My Rating: ****

1 comment:

  1. I remember seeing this short when I was a teenager as I remember hating it only because I didn't realize that it was fiction. Having heard of so many stories about the Beatles and various associates, I probably would've been more fascinated about the film though I doubt John was bi-curious but like the rest of the Beatles and their circle of family, friends, and personnel. I'm sure they were protective of Brian's secret.


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